Lifetime’s Aaliyah biopic has been put on an indefinite hold after star Zendaya Coleman announced that she was leaving the project. Neither the former Disney star or her camp has made any statement regarding her decision, but Lifetime tweeted vaguely about the matter earlier today, “We are sad Zendaya will no longer portray Aaliyah. Production is currently on hold.”
The project, titled Aaliyah: Princess of R&B, was scheduled to begin filming this summer from a script based on Christopher Farley’s novel, “Aaliyah: More Than A Woman.”
Coleman, who generally goes solely by her first name, was cast as the lead earlier this year. Clearly her abilities as a triple threat made her ideal for the role, as well as her resemblance to the late R&B star (who died in a plane crash in 2001). Zendaya was supposed to record four of the songs from the soundtrack that would have also appeared in the film.
According to THR, there has been some push back from Aaliyah’s family. Her cousin, Jomo Hankerson, said that the network failed to reach out before going forward with the concept. The executive producer of the project, Debra Martin Chase, gave the following statement about the motives behind the film, but didn’t mention anything about the family:
“This film will provide a heartfelt look at Aaliyah’s extraordinary and all-too-short life journey that we hope will provide inspiration to an entirely new generation. Aaliyah is beloved for her artistic grace and her wonderful spirit, and I’m looking forward to producing this film that will honor her legacy.”
With so many problems before filming has even begun, it’s hard to say whether the Aaliyah project will ever get any real traction, though it would definitely be a nice tribute if they end up getting it done.